gap year in israel

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Dear Parents,
hikeBy now you will have heard about the terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium.
We heard the news during the second day of our tiyul, a few minutes before starting our last hike and just before we lost internet connectivity (there is no internet reception in the desert). During the hike we chatted about it with each other. I heard a large variety of opinions from the students. Some were more emotional and some more rational. I was walking next to a group of students who talked about how frustrating it is and how they want to make the world a better place. We were debating ideas of how to do this and it left me with the hope that some of the world’s next leaders will come from this group as I’m positive that they will be much better than those who came before them.

And now, on a different tone, to your favorite part, this week highlights!

Negev desertOn Monday morning we all left Jerusalem for the Negev desert. We visited David Ben Gurion’s grave where we learned about the difficult and influential decisions he made during his career such as declaring Israel’s independence when the chances of winning the 1948 war were grim, firing on the Altalena which contained desperately needed arms for Israel, leaving the role of Prime Minister to pursue his passion of living in and building up the Negev and returning to be Prime Minister when the US-Israeli relationship was in jeopardy of irreversible damage.

After a good dinner and some time to fresh up the madrichim gathered the students for a night activity. The students were divided into pairs for a competition. In order to win each pair needed to finish 6 missions as quickly as possible. Each mission was located in a different station which was operated by one of the counselors. The pair who won was Charles Einstein and Reina Salky and they received a pair of VIP tickets to a movie.

The next day of the Tiyul was mostly hiking. We gave the students 2 options:
– The hard hike which is called “Snapir Katan” (Little Flipper).
– The harder hike which is called “Snapir Gadol” (Big Flipper).

Some of the students were a little bit worried at the beginning but they all were up for the challenge! And guess what? Everyone finished the hike and even had enough energy to play some Frisbee!

Purim On Wednesday the students started to celebrate Purim with the community. We began in the Gan (kindergarden) where Shaine and Anna volunteer. We played with the little children each of which has some form of disability. It was so nice to see how our students got along with the children. Kobi said, “they made him feel like a child again”. After we left the Gan we made Mishloach Manot for the community where we live. The students said thank you to the shops that they frequent and the families who hosted them earlier in the semester.

On the military track we learned about the origins of the army and how it began. We learned all about the underground organizations such as the Etzel and Haganah and their impact on the army today. In order to understand this we played the flag game where we “joined” the different organizations in the same way as they had to do in the past. We took an oath on the gun and the Torah.

We celebrated Purim with a costume party with the Tel Aviv group. It was very enjoyable to see our students get creative and create their own costumes. The winners of the best costumes were announced at the end of the evening and the prizes went to Julia & Jordan. Julia dressed up as Avril Lavigne and Jordan as a skater boy.

This week we are going to –
Nahal Katlav and the Stalactite Cave.
Poyke Dinner – Poyke is method of outdoor cooking that originated in South Africa and has become an Israeli tradition.

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael